Following Band of Brothers and The Pacific, the critically acclaimed and highly popular WWII miniseries of Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, everyone has been waiting with bated breath for the third part of the trilogy, Masters of the Air. But the waiting seems to be last forever.

We first read about Masters of the Air back in 2012. Then in 2013 HBO announced that it was developing the miniseries, focusing on the U.S. Army Air Forces’ Mighty Eight Air Force. But then nada. 

But then, in October 2019, HBO announced that they had sold the rights of the miniseries to Apple TV which will develop the series and publish it on Apple TV+. 

The Bloody and Valorous History of the Mighty Eighth
A Group of B-17 of the 100 Bomb Group during WWII. (

The Mighty Eighth Air Force was established as the VIII Bomber Command on January 19, 1942, and activated at Langley Field, Virginia on February 1. While crews were training in the United States, an advance party was getting facilities prepared in England. 

On July 4, 1942, the Mighty Eighth conducted its first bombing mission when A-20 Havocs (Boston by the British RAF) were tasked with hitting enemy airfields in Holland. The first B-17 bombing mission was conducted on August 17, 1942, when 12 B-17s from the 97th Bombardment Group flew a mission to hit the Rouen-Sotteville marshaling yards in France. That mission was led by Paul Tibbets who would later drop the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima

The Allies had decided upon a strategic bombing campaign: The British RAF would hammer Germany by night while the Americans would attack it by day. At its peak strength, the Eighth Air Force had 40 heavy bomber groups, 15 fighter groups, and four specialized support groups. It could dispatch more than 2,000 four-engine bombers and more than 1,000 fighters on a single mission to multiple targets.

However, it was a bloody, hard-fought campaign. The Eighth Air Force suffered half the U.S. Army Air Forces’ WWII casualties. Specifically, the Eight suffered 26,000 dead. Personnel assigned to the Eighth received 17 Medals of Honor, 220 Distinguished Service Crosses, and 442,000 Air Medals.

The 100th Bombardment Group (The Bloody Hundredth), flew its first mission, an attack on Bremen, Germany, in June 1943. It lost three aircraft and 30 men. This was a harbinger of things to come. From June 25, 1943, until April 20, 1945, the 100th Bomb Group would never go off operational status due to losses.